When it comes to fall property maintenance there are many projects that need attention before the cold weather envelopes our area. From pruning perennials to planting bulbs and from structure repairs to tool and furniture storage, the list may seem endless and overwhelming to many homeowners.
However, there is one chore that should never be left off the list and that is raking up leaves – particularly those scattered across the lawn. While leaves can be a protective barrier of sorts for garden plants, a layer on the lawn does not generally hold any value. Conversely, medium to large leaves can create potential issues.
Beyond the unkempt appearance of a property, grass blades can be compressed by the weight of wet leaves. When the grass remains leaf-covered for long periods of time, sod is not likely able to ‘breathe’, especially on those days when the sun is shining and there is no snow cover.
Compound those conditions with a heavy layer of snow or ice and there is a good chance that, over time, the lawn may develop mold, fungus or be susceptible to other diseases. It is just not worth the risk of spending exhaustive efforts to return the turf to good health, or worse – be forced to remove and replace part or all of the lawn.
Healthy leaves can be raked and composted for future use. Running a lawn mower over a light layer might be an easier solution to collection if the mower has a built-in bagging system. Smaller leaves from locust trees can be a challenge to gather however make the effort to remove as many as possible.
If composting is not an option, simply collect and place in yard bags. Have the bags closed and neatly arranged, ready for pickup.
Although it is not a requirement to rake and remove leaves, it does help to keep neighbourhoods clean and tidy. The old adage – ‘I’ll just wait for a good wind and let someone else deal with them’ might seem like an amusing option. However, in reality, it is better to be part of the solution rather than the cause of the problem. After all, neighbours are not expected to mow your lawn or weed your garden. They shouldn’t be expected to rake neglected leaves.
Take time to rake and gather the leaves before Winter sets in and the snow flies. Your lawn will surely be grateful come next Spring. Trees provide beauty, clean air and a delightful sight in the Fall. Raking up after their final spectacle of the season will show your appreciation.
Sherry Hayes is a part time writer and an award winning landscape designer and owner of Landscaping With Style, a design firm in Stoney Creek. For more information, contact landscapingwithstyle.on.ca or call 905-574-7606